Senate Bill 1222 — Controlled substances, possession

Senate Bill 1222 — Controlled substances, possession

by
Parrish Miller
January 24, 2020
Parrish Miller
January 24, 2020

Bill description: SB 1222 changes references to possession of controlled substances by adding "with intent to deliver" as part of the criteria.

Rating: -1

Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market?

SB 1222 amends Section 66-317, Idaho Code, to state that "'Substance related disorder' means any substance use disorder or substance induced disorder as defined by the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM V)." This language incorporates a changeable standard into Idaho law, removing the Idaho Legislature’s oversight .

(-1)

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for nonviolent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes?

SB 1222 modifies references throughout several sections of Idaho code regarding the possession of controlled substances by adding "with intent to deliver" as part of the criteria for the action to be prohibited. This change effectively decriminalizes possession when there is no intent to deliver.

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Unfortunately, SB 1222 undoes much of this positive change by adding new language stating, "For purposes of this section, the act of a person sharing or providing a controlled substance for use by another person shall constitute intent to deliver." Obviously, sharing one's personal property with a friend is not "intent to deliver" and defining it as such serves to create confusion and allow for enhanced penalties where none need apply. Because the section already contains references to and penalties for crimes that include an "intent to deliver," the expanded definition of that phrase could expose individuals to extreme penalties (up to life in prison) for actions that would not constitute "intent to deliver" under current law.

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Existing law criminalizes being "under the influence" of a controlled substance. SB 1222 clarifies that "to be under the influence" means a level of influence (i) that presents a danger to oneself or others, or (ii) creates a disturbance of the peace, or (iii) that would cause a reasonable person to believe that the person is in an altered state. This new language adds clarity and should preclude a conviction based solely on the presence of a controlled substance in an individual's body.

(+1)

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the US Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the US Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?

SB 1222 modifies multiple sections of Idaho code to expand laws that currently allow for mentally ill individuals to be taken into custody and detained against their will. The expansion will apply these violations of personal liberty to those alleged to have a "substance-related disorder."

Among the actions that could cause an individual to be tagged with this label are the following: being intoxicated due to substance use, experiencing withdrawal due to substance use, being pregnant and committing substance use, and having received treatment for substance use in the past and falling to maintain sobriety. Another possible reason why someone could be subjected to involuntary detention and treatment is having "lost self-control, demonstrated by a repeated pattern of failure to meet social, financial, or occupational responsibilities."

These are broad and highly subjective concepts, lacking clarifications or limits, yet they are to be added to Idaho code as grounds for involuntary detention (initially without a hearing or warrant) by the state.

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